A screenshot from the Global Fishing Watch software.

Commercial fishermen who infringe on fishing laws will no longer be able hide their activity amidst the ocean.

A new technology platform which utilises satellite data to create the first global view of commercial fishing has been unveiled at the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia.

It is called Global Fishing Watch and it will give people an online platform to visualise, track and share information about fishing activity worldwide.

The platform is the creation of SkyTruth, Oceana and Google, and works by analysing data points from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) network.

Initially, the AIS—a GPS broadcast of a ship’s location—functioned as a safety mechanism to avoid collisions at sea.

With the Global Fishing Watch technology, cargo ships and other non-fishing vessel activity will be removed, providing a clear view of human interaction with the ocean.

“Global Fishing Watch is designed to empower all stakeholders, including governments, fishery managers, citizens and members of the fishing industry itself, so that together they may work to bring back a healthy, bio-diverse and maximally productive ocean,” said Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana.

He added that Global Fishing Watch will help bring to enhance the livelihoods of the hundreds of millions of people who depend on ocean fisheries for food and income.

This new technology will not only stamp out illegal activity, but it can also be a tool for fishermen who regularly abide by the rules and do their part by practising sustainable fishing.

“Fishermen can show how they are doing their part to fish sustainably, we can motivate citizens to watch the places they care about, and we can all work together to restore a thriving ocean.” said John Amos, President and Founder of SkyTruth.

For more information, visit Globalfishingwatch.org.

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